The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) continues to focus on the future of the Arctic through a multi-stakeholder workshop this week, as well as new publications with recommendations on the Arctic Council and a proposed new Arctic Development Bank.   

CIGI’s research project on Arctic governance focuses on the cutting edge issue of North American Arctic marine corridors and sustainable economic development in the context of the melting Arctic icecap.  Led by CIGI Senior Fellow and former Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister and diplomat John Higginbotham, the project evaluates the effectiveness of multilateral, Canada-US, national, regional and indigenous peoples’ governance in addressing these and other Arctic opportunities and challenges.  

As part of this project, CIGI and the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) Foundation will convene a high-level roundtable on North American arctic marine and intermodal corridors and resource development. This event, taking place from January 29-30 in Vancouver, will emphasize the importance of Alaskan-Canadian cooperation in this area, and follows CIGI Arctic Marine roundtables in Ottawa, Iqaluit and Yellowknife over the last two years.

The first of two new CIGI publications on Arctic governance research is a policy brief by researcher Jennifer Spence titled, The Arctic Council Leadership Merry-Go-Round: Words of Advice as the United States Assumes the Arctic Council Chairmanship. Spence argues that “if the Arctic Council is truly going to fulfill the leadership role that it has been assigned in the court of public opinion, serious effort must be placed in advancing a strategic discussion about a vision for the Arctic region and the role that the council can play to achieve it.” Spence outlines how the Arctic Council works and makes four recommendations on issues the council should address, including economic development and identifying region-wide priorities. This follows up on an important joint conference with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, on the future of the Arctic Council.

The second new CIGI publication is by Alan Gill and David Sevigny. Sustainable Northern Development: The Case for an Arctic Development Bank provides a review of the multilateral development bank (MDB) model and governance, while discussing the possibility of an Arctic Development Bank that “could raise significant new funding and advance environmentally sustainable development in the Arctic region.” Gill and Sevigny say the MDB model has “shown itself to be adaptable to meet the many challenges that are now identified as critical priorities for sustainable Northern development.” Moreover, the model is effective in bringing together multiple interested parties to “pursue common developmental objectives.”

CIGI is also hosting a free public event on February 3, 2015, that explores the recent discoveries and artifacts, underwater archaeology and what comes next in piecing together the real story of the Franklin Expedition. The CIGI Signature Lecture, Discovering the Erebus: Mysteries of the Franklin Voyage Revealed, will feature archeologists sharing their experiences of the hunt for the Franklin Expedition.

To learn more about CIGI’s new publications on Arctic governance, please visit: To learn more about Discovering the Erebus: Mysteries of the Franklin Voyage Revealed, please visit:


Kevin Dias, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 7238, Email: [email protected]

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit


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